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We are pleased to welcome Mary Helen Gensch as a monthly contributor. Mary Helen is an avid reader and passionate about finding craft moves in children’s books. For years she has chronicled books + craft moves on her blog, Book Savors. She also has a knack for finding videos and author websites to help know the story behind the book.

Sue Macy scripted a memorable biography in her book, Miss Mary Reporting, the True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber.


Mary Garber began her writing career at the age of 8, creating a weekly newspaper with family news. Creative! Her father instilled the love of sports, Notre Dame football being a favorite. She graduated college and became a newspaper writer. When WWII happened, she began reporting sports, her passion. In 1947, Mary saw Jackie Robinson play. He became a role model for her “inspired by his quiet dignity in the face of taunts….”

Mary faced her own adversity. She wasn’t allowed to sit in the press box with the male writers until her editor complained. She was determined to do her best and gained respect for her writing. Mary covered games of the all-black school in Winston-Salem. She said she figured their parents would be just as interested in how their kid did. Mary wrote for over 50 years, even after she retired and was honored by being inducted into the sportswriters’ hall of fame in 2002.

Mary made a difference in many athletes’ lives. I think her motto is something to strive for.

I tried whenever I wrote about kids to be as positive as I could. If you can give a kid a pat on the back or if you can tell him he’s done well or you can make him believe in himself, you can make a difference in his life.”

To preview the book, view the video below (9 minutes). C.F. Payne‘s illustrations are fabulous.

Click here to view Mary being interviewed later in life. She definitely impacted history.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Miss Mary Reporting:

  • Biography — bringing to life factual information through narrative with voice

  • Quotes

  • Character traits — how to impact others in a positive way; determination; perseverance; treating others with respect

  • Transitions

  • Snapshots of Time

  • Author’s Note

  • Timeline

AIbEiAIAAABECOnu0uelx-m83QEiC3ZjYXJkX3Bob3RvKihiZDU0OWY4OWI4MjUyZDA3NzJlYmY0ZjI5YTFlZWViYmMxNzNkZGJlMAEu6CofFl8qu1wPd5_qd1XO1lxLWAMary Helen Gensch is currently a Title I specialist at Pierceton Elementary School (Whitko School Corporation). She was one of the first instructional writing coaches when All-Write originally formed. Her love affair with picture books began by reading Wondrous Words by Katie Wood Ray.  Katie nudges readers to go to the library and read, immersing themselves in the words. It is Mary Helen’s wish for you to let children catch your passion for reading. Join her in savoring some books as you read-like-a-writer. Find more at Mary Helen’s super-organized blog, Book Savors. Also, follow her on Instagram @BookSavors or Twitter @MHGBooks.


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